Peterson slams party’s refusal to adjust leadership rules amid COVID-19 crisis

Peterson slams party's refusal to adjust leadership rules amid COVID-19 crisis

OTTAWA — Alberta businessman Rick Peterson is abandoning his bid to lead the federal Conservatives, citing the party’s refusal to adjust eligibility rules in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

Peterson says he’s been forced to pull out of the race because the party won’t extend the deadlines for signing up members and paying hefty entrance fees.

He says raising money and collecting signatures has been “severely hampered” at a time when Canadians are being told to avoid in-person contact and when many are facing a financial crunch.

He says the party’s decision flies in the face of common sense, decency and conservative values.

Candidates have until March 25 to pay $300,000 in fees and submit 3,000 signatures — a deadline the party is refusing to extend.

Former minister Peter MacKay and MP Erin O’Toole have already met the threshold and so have Toronto lawyer Leslyn Lewis and Conservative MP Derek Sloan.

Would-be contender Marilyn Gladu has called on the party to postpone the June 27 leadership vote while businessman Rudy Husny suspended his campaign Thursday, saying it’s not right to ask for donations in the midst of national health emergency.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 20, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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